Jeff Kaisershot is a teacher here at Otis that teaches Media in Motion for Digital Media students as well as teaching some Communication Arts classes. Before teaching at Otis, he had painted backdrops for twelve years. He was also a set dresser for commercials and movies. He worked on over 500-600 commercials, some of them for big firms such as Levi's
Jeff Kaisershot also worked as an assistant film editor for five years; his job consisted of cutting scenes for production. He was an independent artist, notorious for galleries and exhibitions, but ceased to hold exhibitions eight to twelve years ago. He still creates art and has a private clients he caters to.
When I asked him why he was a teacher, he replied, "There is no better job." He began teaching through Harry at the American Film Institute in the 90s. He began helping out in the classroom and volunteering. Jeff says, "Teaching is a combination of learning and helping people out." He places the importance of helping people over the value of money, success, and power.
"I love it.... If I won the lottery, I'd want to teach.... I don't ever want to retire" Jeff states during the interview. He enjoys students and describes teaching as "A group of people making something larger than any individual can do."
Jeff describes his teaching style as a "Combination of freedom and responsibility". He expects every student to show effort and not be afraid to fail. His primary concern isn't with success or the quality of the work, but the effort and the attitude of the student. His expectations of the students are to show up, and try.
Jeff's main goal in the classroom is to try to create a place where the student can feel comfortable. Jeff states "If I can create a sense of inspiration, they can learn more than I can ever teach them.... On a one on one basis, to inspire..." Jeff aspires to ignite a passion for learning in his students. "If I can't inspire a student, it's because of the way I'm teaching. I take it personally". For Jeff, teaching is to turn on the light for students to inspire themselves. "In life, you gotta start out with the end in mind".
When asked what tips he would offer students, he says, "It's different for every student." Jeff uses mentoring as an opportunity to draw closer to his students. He understands that students have obstacles that could get in the way of their schooling and believes that if a student has a personal connection with their school and teachers, it would help students feel more comfortable and inclined to be at school and to learn.
He advises that showing up and having a good attitude is primarily what's most important in an educational experience. He also states that patience is important because students may not always be compatible with their teachers, but that every teacher has something valuable to offer.
Sophia Pak (middle) is a previous student of Jeff Kaisershot's Media in Motion class. When asked how she would describe Jeff's teaching method, she replied "Free form, in the sense he would give you an assignment and he doesn't limit you. He doesn't say you can't do this - you can't do that. He's very relaxed with the due dates and encourages you to do things you're interested in, whether it be in games or film...his teaching style helped me try new styles, explore new waters, learn new techniques. He gives two cents of life...He was also my mentor. On a personal level, he's someone you can open up to. It helped me to determine my major in motion graphics."